Colorado Divorce Law

Colorado Divorce Law: Divorce petition filing is never an easy choice. It's possible that you will have a lot of questions after you decide that it doesn't make sense for your marriage to continue or if your spouse has made the decision to file, whichever circumstance comes. 

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Understanding Colorado’s divorce procedures and rules is essential if you want to achieve the best results for your circumstances.

Whether or not you hire a lawyer, there are still several fundamental things you need to be aware of to safeguard your interests.

Colorado Divorce Laws and Requirements for Divorce:-

The Colorado Revised Statute’s (Colo. Rev. Stat.) § 14-10-106 (1)(a)(I) Divorce Provisions.

The following conditions must be satisfied for a Colorado court to dissolve the marriage (either by divorce, legal separation, or annulment) and issue permanent decrees resolving all issues:

  1. Colorado must have personal jurisdiction over the respondent spouse,
  2. At least 91 days must have passed since the other spouse received the summons,
  3. And if there are children, Colorado must have been their home state for at least 181 days before the petition can be filed.

Types of Divorce in Colorado:-

Prior to going into the specifics of how to file for divorce, it’s critical to comprehend the several divorce and separation options that are available in Colorado. The right course of action will depend on your particular situation because not all divorces are created equal.

Contested vs. uncontested divorce

When there is disagreement between the parties about one or more important matters, such as child custody, property division, who gets to keep the house, and other things, the divorce is contested. When both parties concur on every detail of their divorce, it is deemed to be uncontested.

Colorado Divorce Law
Colorado Divorce Law

Invalidation in Colorado

In Colorado, an annulment is known as a Declaration of Invalidity. It states unequivocally that a marriage was void from the start. It differs from a divorce in that it declares that a valid marriage never existed rather than dissolving the marriage.

Fraud, coercion, or the incapacity to complete the marriage are all grounds for annulment.

Colorado’s legal separation laws

A court ruling defining a couple’s rights and obligations when they are still married but living apart is known as a legal separation.

These might have to do with property, debt distribution, or child custody. Legal separation does not lead to divorce, but for some people it can be the first step in that direction. Others may feel their hearts grow fonder when they are absent.

Reasons for a Colorado Legal Separation or Dissolution

Since Colorado is a no-fault state, the only legal basis for ending a marriage is that it has been irretrievably broken. Regulation 14-10-106(1)(a)(II). And if one partner says the marriage is over, it actually is. C.R.S. 14-10-110(1). Don’t let the statute’s mention of contradicting evidence mislead you; if one spouse wants to end the marriage, the court will grant the order.

Adultery, cruelty, desertion, and other previous grounds for dissolution of marriage have been eliminated. Additionally, in the past, one may use defences like condonation, insanity, or collusion to try to defend against or stop a divorce. These have also been eliminated.  C.R.S. 14-10-107(5).

Interestingly, adultery is still illegal in Colorado under C.R.S. 16-6-501, although there is no stated penalty for it and the last incidence of adultery being tried was in 1925.  Additionally, adultery may be considered a violation of Article 134 of the UCMJ if one spouse is a member of the armed forces, however this is utterly unimportant in a Colorado family law court.

Colorado Divorce Law
Colorado Divorce Law

With only a few limited exceptions (e.g., abuse may be relevant on the issue of parenting, or wrongfully disposing of a marital asset may be relevant on the issue of property division), judges will “keep it clean” and not even permit a spouse to present evidence of wrongdoing by the other spouse.

What are the fundamental procedures for filing for divorce?

  • State laws on divorce differ, but these are the fundamental procedures:
  • You must first fulfil the state’s residency criteria before you may file.
  • The second requirement is that you must have “grounds”—a justifiable reason—to dissolve your marriage.
  • The next step is to file divorce papers and send copies to your spouse. (See our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section’s Starting the Court Case page for more information on submitting a summons, creating a petition, and serving process.)
  • Fourth, your spouse will have the chance to submit documents outlining his or her position if he or she disagrees with anything in the divorce paperwork. We refer to this as “contesting the divorce.” You will need to appear in court several times to resolve this situation. If there are no issues, your spouse should sign the documents and return them to you or the court. It’s referred to as a “uncontested divorce.” You may still be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce if a specified amount of time passes and your spouse does not sign the documents or file any of his or her own.
  • Fifth, you will need to negotiate an out-of-court settlement or a series of court hearings if you need to divide property or if you need your spouse to provide financial support. You might also decide on custody as part of your divorce.

Am I Entitled for Alimony?

  • In a divorce, legal separation, or annulment (also known as a “declaration of invalidity” action), your spouse may be required to pay you alimony, also known as spousal maintenance.1
  • The judge will take into account the following reasons when determining whether or not to order maintenance if either spouse requests it:
  • The amount of your income and that of your spouse;
  • How the marital estate was divided; each spouse’s financial resources, including but not limited to the actual or potential income from separate and marital property;
  • The reasonable financial needs established during the marriage; and the tax ramifications of providing for or receiving maintenance.

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